TRU CEO to be picked ‘on merit alone’

Members of the Tongan Rugby Union want their new CEO to be Tongan.  

The TRU is currently shortlisting candidates for the role after applications closed in November 2013.

Kaniva News has been reliably informed some applicants are concerned after hearing members of the TRU met in December and pushed to assign the CEO position to Tongan applicants only.

‘Epeli Taione, Chairperson of the TRU believes those fears are unfounded.                                           

“With regards to the CEO being non-Tongan or Tongan, yes it was mentioned and deliberated in the 6th December meeting,” said Taione.

“I think it will be very naive and unprofessional on behalf of TRU to recruit the CEO with a premeditated view on the sex, age and ethnicity of the candidates.

We will pick the best we can for the role based on merit alone,” he told Kaniva news.

However Taione said it was his long–term goal for Tonga rugby to be administered only by Tongans.

“With due respect to Peter Harding who is by far the most credible import for TRU in the last decade, in the future, it is my dream to have everything Tongan; from top of administrations, to coaches and the technical support staff of the Union.

“It is always a major problem for smaller rugby nations in the Pacific – foreigners in key roles in administrations and coaching use the 2nd Tier nations as a 'step up' for bigger and greater jobs elsewhere.  

“When they come and leave on that basis, whole operations collapse and everything starts from scratch again and again; this uncertainty and inefficient cycle needs to stop. 

“We need continuity and consistency in Tongan rugby; we cannot rely anymore on anyone other than that of our own.

“I have seen it all both as a player and a sports administrator, we are more than capable of being the best in rugby in both codes in the world.

“We need to believe in our own abilities both on and off it, Argentina is closing in on rugby world power houses doing it the Argentinian way.

Let’s do it in the Tongan way, wholeheartedly but professionally,” Taione said.

The CEO position for the rugby union in Tonga was advertised in October last year after TRU terminated CEO ‘Emeline Tuita’s period of probation. 

The list of shortlisted applicants is to be announced next week.

They will be questioned before a panel of four interviewers including ‘Epeli Taione, Deputy Prime Minister Hon Samiu Vaipulu, Tonga’s Solicitor General Aminiasi Kefu and Graham Mourie, Taione said.

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